Russia's showpiece Syria congress marked by boycotts, little progress

Russia's Lavrov heckled as Syria peace talks in Sochi crumble

Russia's Lavrov heckled as Syria peace talks in Sochi crumble

Russia, a staunch Assad ally, is hosting what it has called a Syrian Congress of National Dialogue in the Black Sea resort of Sochi that it hopes will launch negotiations on drafting a new constitution for Syria after nearly seven years of war. Moscow wants to play a key role in the efforts to achieve a political settlement.

The conference's opening, initially planned for Monday, was mired in confusion as a handful of opposition delegates refused to leave Sochi airport after arriving on a last-minute flight.

The talks come as Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes kill dozens of civilians in Syria's rebel held Idlib province.

But the main Syrian opposition group is boycotting the meeting.

"There is a dire need for a comprehensive Syrian dialogue for the sake of a comprehensive deal for the Syrian crisis".

Guterres speaks out on Holocaust Remembrance Day
President marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday by tweeting a message of resolve to prevent another genocide.

Last week, UN-sponsored talks in Vienna, Austria, ended as in many previous rounds with accusations hurled back and forth to the media between the representatives of the warring sides in Syria. They argue that the talks will only favor the Assad government. However, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was expected to take part in the Sochi conference, though he had not shown up in the conference room as the gathering started.

A Syrian peace conference in Russian Federation got off to a rocky start on Tuesday after some delegates opposed to President Bashar al-Assad refused to leave the airport on arrival, saying they were offended by the presence of the Syrian state's flag and emblem.

"The Turkish delegation, which was given the mandate to represent opposition groups that didn't attend the Congress, submitted a list of 50 candidates in consultation with the opposition", the statement said.

The Sochi conference was originally scheduled to be a two-day event, but it was shortened to a one-day forum on Tuesday.

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